"What do you mean?"

"Mom, you may not understand the workings of this society. Though the times now are unlike the times then, there are some similarities after all. Mom, think about it, do you still remember how you got your job?"

"With Grandpa Lee's help." Because of Elder Lee, Ding Jiayi was willing to marry Qiao Dongliang who was without any relatives.

She knew that Qiao Dongliang was close to Elder Lee. If he continued to maintain the relationship, with Elder Lee's help, they would be able to lead a good life.

"That's right. I heard that it's useless to be good in one's studies, one needs to have connections. I have thought it through, if I really get into a college, it would cost a bomb. Mom, I can't bear to see you working your guts out. Don't be too hard on yourself. With the money that you earned, spend and use it on stuff that you need."

Ding Jiayi felt nervous at her words. "Zijin, what do you mean by this? You, you intend to quit school?"

"No, Mom. Don't be anxious, hear me out first. I am still going to study, be it high school or college. But we are going to have a change in plans. I plan to stop my studies in the second half semester of year three. Of course, I won't be sitting for college entrance exams either. I will look for a job and start to earn money. I intend to enroll in an evening school and to get my certificates. Mom, don't worry, I promise to do you proud."

Qiao Zijin pulled at her mother's hands, sounding sincere and heartfelt.

"Why?" Ding Jiayi disagreed. "Those schools are not as good as Tsinghua University or Peking University. If it's about money, don't worry, your Dad's bark is worse than his bite. Besides, our agreement is only for the three years in high school. If you really get into Peking University or Tsinghua University, even if he has to sell everything in the house, he would definitely finance you through university."

"Mom, it has nothing to do with this." It was rare that Qiao Zijin could explain to Ding Jiayi patiently. "I really can't bear to see Dad and you to work so hard. It pains me to see that you are working through the night. Besides, as I have said, society is different now. Even if your results are very good, you might not find a good job after you graduated. Initially I am worried that my plan may not work out well, but now that we have the support of the Lee family and the Zhu family, I would have no trouble finding a job."

Zhu family and Lee family were established and prominent, they would definitely get a decent job for her.

With a decent job, it would be much more valuable than having good results.

"This…" Ding Jiayi hesitated for a while. Ding Jiayi had been through this, the future that Qiao Zijin painted, it was definitely much easier and much faster.

After all, the main objective of studying was to get a good job, and to earn lots of money.

"But Zijin, are you sure you are not hiding anything from me? By the time you stop going to high school Qiao Nan would be in her second year of high school. If both of you are to study in the college at the time, even if your Dad had exceptional abilities, he wouldn't be able to make the money to finance both of you through college. In that case, by that time…" One of the two sisters would be able to continue their studies.

With this situation, Ding Jiayi was quite sure that she would be able to make Qiao Nan quit school and work.

But if Qiao Zijin wanted to work, Qiao family would not be in such a fix. Wouldn't Qiao Nan that wretched girl stand to gain from it?

"Mom, after all, Qiao Nan is my sister. Even though she treats me badly, I shouldn't do this to her. It doesn't matter to me, if she wants to study then just let her be. Anyway I am not losing out either." She had to depend on Qiao Nan to get a good job.

Hopefully the Lee family and the Zhu family would help Zijin on account that Qiao Nan helped Zhu Baoguo to improve on his results.

Even though Qiao Zijin only spent half a year in The High School Affiliated to Renmin University of China, she did not waste her time there.

To put it bluntly, all of her classmates either came from rich families or families with influential background. Otherwise, who would buy two, three sets of new clothes for their children to wear during Lunar New Year. It was already good enough to have one set of new clothes.

These people never had to worry about their future, they went to The High School Affiliated to Renmin University of China all because of its reputation.

Moreover, Qiao Zijin always told her parents that her results were good and she had made improvements, but she had a guilty conscience. She had cheated to get these results.

If she managed to cheat her way through college entrance exams, she would have to enter the college. But she didn't have the capabilities to study in a college!

She would rather come up with ways to get herself out of the predicament, than making a fool of herself in two and a half years' time.

Qiao Zijin might be young, but she was able to know what was best for her and what she could do to benefit the most out of it.

"That's true. She had no conscience, but you are still so considerate towards her. Don't be so silly in the future. You looked upon her as your sister but she never treated you as her elder sister. But your words make sense, I will think about it."

"Oh, take your time to consider, Mom. This is just my two cents' worth. You are more experienced than me, you would be able to make a well considered decision. Whatever you say, I would definitely follow your wishes."

"That's my good girl."

What a pair of loving mother and daughter in the room. On the other hand, the atmosphere outside was stiff. "Nan Nan, just now your Mom… "

"Dad, don't put in good words for Mom. After this Lunar New Year I will be sixteen years old, not six years old. I am no longer a gullible kid. I know very well if Mom is good to me or not. I am also very clear if she is just muddleheaded or biased."

When she thought of the horrifying memories of her last dying moments in the previous life, Qiao Nan could not help but say such harsh words, exposing the beautiful lies that Qiao Dongliang weaved.

"Dad, I will return to my room to rest." With that, Qiao Nan left.

Qiao Dongliang was left all by himself in the living room. He stomped his feet in frustration, resisting the urge to punch Ding Jiayi.

Today it was all Old Ding's fault!

"Why would you be free to drop by?" The next day Zhai Sheng who was reading in the storeroom saw Qiao Nan and paused momentarily. "Aren't your family in the midst of preparations for Lunar New Year?"

"Yes, but I am just a kid, and the youngest in the family, I shouldn't be doing the preparations." In the past, she would be helping with most of the work, Qiao Zijin was the darling daughter, while her father was the master of the house. They would be idling around waiting for food to be served.

She had worked hard the whole day, yet during reunion dinner her mother would take all the credit to herself, and complained that the three of them only knew how to wait around for food.

This Lunar New Year, she would no longer be called Qiao Nan if she was to help out with any of the chores. "But Brother Zhai, why are you here?" Or rather, why was he here again, she remembered that Brother Zhai had a study room?

Why would Brother Zhai not stay at his study room and keep coming to the storeroom. Maybe the geomancy at the storeroom was good, one could study well there? Could this be the reason why she was very efficient in her studies recently?



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